In particular, the real estate market in Germany is used on a large scale for money laundering. In the past, it has repeatedly been linked to money laundering amounts worth several billion euros. In many cases, drawing conclusions about the Italian Mafia was possible.
The amended Money Laundering Act is intended to specifically combat money laundering offences in the real estate market with new means such as the transparency register. Whether the measures taken will be successful remains to be seen since many investors are not registering in the transparency register.
Besides the real estate market, other economic sectors are also vulnerable to money laundering offences. For example, the automotive industry, the art trade and gambling companies are increasingly used to hide or disguise sums of money from criminal offences.
Germany is considered an attractive location for money laundering transactions due to its economic strength. However, since money laundering is regarded as a long-term and sustainable impediment to economic growth, the German government now wants to take stricter measures, which can at least partly be attributed to the amendment of the Money Laundering Act.
The tougher crackdown in economic sectors that are particularly vulnerable to money laundering offences may, however, lead to many legitimate and honest business people and other private individuals unjustifiably coming under the scrutiny of law enforcement agencies.